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Pirating The Beatles: Some 100 Million Fab Four Tracks Illegally Downloaded A Year

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imageAmid the speculation today about whether The Beatles’ digital remastering is a prelude, finally, to online retail, here are a couple of sobering data points worth considering … Long story short: the Fab Four are already losing huge amounts to illegal downloading.

Of the people who currently use P2P networks, 23 percent download one or more Beatles tracks, P2P monitor BigChampagne told Since 62 million people worldwide use P2P, the firm estimates, that’s 14.26 million people already getting their Fab Four for free, an average 6.9 tracks per user – from cheap, relatively low-quality MP3 files, nevermind the high-quality new mixes. That’s among the highest proportion BigChampagne has recorded for an act, CEO Eric Garland told us, though a smash single from an artist like 50 Cent can prove more popular.

Garland: “Of course, no one has been tracking file sharing long enough to say how many Beatles tracks have ever been downloaded absolutely, but the band continues to be as popular as ever and the annual total is in the many tens of millions, perhaps 100 million.”

To put that in context, U2’s recently leaked No Line On The Horizon album was downloaded 445,000 times in two weeks, earlier BigChampagne data showed. In other words, assuming that level of freeloading tails of over the year, Beatles tracks, even today, may be more popular than one of the biggest rock acts on the planet. You can only imagine how much The Beatles would have made had they managed to legitimise their online repertoire earlier…

3 Responses to “Pirating The Beatles: Some 100 Million Fab Four Tracks Illegally Downloaded A Year”

  1. There is no excuse for this. I don't care how many parties are involved – this is NOT a complex activity.

    Oddly enough, I wrote a new blog last night about brands waiting to make content available for purchase online:

    Release dates, international licensing delays – all of it amounts to one giant excuse that screams "We dont really care about making money or being popular."

  2. Staci D. Kramer

    I solved it by buying all the albums I wanted at a huge discount during a Borders' sale — something like 20 cents a song or less — and making my own digital library.

    @KT: we've been picking up comments from the former Beatles and EMi for ages. every so often, it looks very close, then slips away. There are a lot of parties involved, which complicates anything, but still …

  3. Very interesting P2P info on the Beatles, Robert. Would love to hear the former Beatles and EMI respond to their dragging their feet on getting into iTunes, already…

    Their not offering online tracks is beyond dumb.